By Dan Barrett

Australian Superannuation Accounts – Still Ripe For Consolidation

Accountants

At the end of each year the Australian Taxation Office report on the number of superannuation accounts held by Australians. As of 31 December 2014, 14 million Australians held at least one superfund account. Despite efforts the superannuation industry to encourage superfund members to consolidate their accounts into a single fund through ‘Find My Super’ campaigns, almost 1 in 2 super account holders still have multiple accounts.
The Australian Taxation Office reported the following super account breakdown:

Number of Accounts Percentage of People
1 Account 55%
2 Accounts 26%
3 Accounts 11%
4 Accounts 4%
5 Accounts 2%
6-24 Accounts 2%

Every super fund is subject to ongoing fees and account charges, meaning that those with multiple accounts will be hit with multiple fees. This is a significant problem for those with ‘lost’ accounts who may see fees overtime completely erode their fund. The ATO have reported that there are over six million super and ATO-held accounts that are unaccounted for, with a value of close to $16 billion.

Account Values ($mil):

Category 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 (As at 31/12/2014
Lost Unaccountable $7971 $6289 $5821.08
Lost Inactive $8177 $8092 $7587.51
Unclaimed (General, Small, & Insoluble $1545.80 $1742.37 $1897.01
Unclaimed (Temp Resident) $540.40 $575.34 $552.44
Superannuation Holding Accounts (SHA) Active $62.10 $72.20 $74.18
SHA Inactive (Consolidated Revenue) $10.20 $11.43 $12.57
TOTAL $18,306.50 $16,782.34 $15,944.77

Of these lost funds, over 80% of the total was reported in lost uncontactable and inactive accounts. The money in these funds is still being held by superfunds, while any unclaimed super money and SHA accounts have been transferred to the ATO.

The ATO have several tools available online to assist individuals in consolidating their superannuation accounts into the one fund. Via the MyGov website users can find details of lost and forgotten super accounts, as well as consolidate them. The ATO also offer an online superannuation search via their SuperSeeker site and through the ATO app available on iOSAndroid, and Windows Phone. Alternatively, the ATO can conduct a search on an account holders behalf through their phone service – 13 10 20 (or +61 2 6216 1111 if overseas).

With such a strong industry push for Australian superannuation fund holders to consolidate their accounts and the ATO taking such an active role in facilitating consolidation, it is easy for everyday Australians to manage their super. Within minutes using the aforementioned ATO tools, anyone can find any multiple accounts that they hold and consolidate them. This is highly beneficial to fund holders as it improves their balance and provides a greater foundation for their retirement nest egg.

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